FIG Topics of Interest

 

01/17/18

“There is going to be a significant unloading,” particularly of Treasuries, said Reuven Avi-Yonah, a professor who specializes in corporate and international taxation at the University of Michigan Law School. “The general consensus is that the best use of the funds is to distribute it out to shareholders.”

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01/16/18

Here's a look at the four key obstacles lawmakers face in their efforts to forge a deal by Friday.
Spending caps
Lawmakers are currently faced with tight budget caps, agreed to in 2011, that limit how much they can spend for the rest of fiscal year 2018 and beyond.
The Dreamers
The partisan debate over how to deal with the Dreamers — the 800,000 immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children — grew more acrimonious last week after President Trump allegedly called Haiti, El Salvador, and other African nations "s__hole countries" and suggested the U.S. should instead encourage more immigration from Norway, a predominately white country.
Disaster aid
As if the negotiations weren't fraught enough, there are also sharp disagreements over a disaster aid package for Texas, Florida and other places devastated by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
Health programs
The least controversial part of the negotiations: funding for community health centers and a children's health insurance program called CHIP.

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01/12/18

“China’s economic expansion has been beating expectations since the second half of last year, boosting demand for all kinds of commodities,” Guo Chaohui, an analyst with Beijing-based China International Capital Corp., said by phone. “We are expecting continued strength in economic growth in 2018 which will keep up the nation’s import appetite.”

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01/11/18

"The mainland will surely act to make sure Taiwan and the U.S. pay the price for their high-level exchanges," said a Wednesday op-ed published by The Global Times, a nationalistic arm of the Communist Party media apparatus.

"Beijing's diplomatic retaliations toward Washington will come from all sides," it continued. "This will multiply exponentially the costs for the U.S, of handling global affairs and make the country profoundly realize that the Taiwan question is the Chinese mainland's bottom line that it cannot afford to touch."

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01/10/18

The market for U.S. government bonds is becoming less attractive relative to other assets, and trade tensions with the U.S. may provide a reason to slow or stop buying American debt, the thinking of these officials goes, according to the people, who asked not to be named as they’re not allowed to discuss the matter publicly. China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange didn’t immediately reply to a fax seeking comment on the matter.

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01/09/18

New data from Mexico's auto industry show the country exported 2.33 million vehicles to the U.S in 2017, an increase of 9.4 percent. In addition, 75 percent of the vehicles exported from Mexico wound up being sold in the U.S., far outpacing the next most popular destination, Canada, which received just more than 8 percent of the vehicles shipped out of Mexico.

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01/08/18

The government has been running on autopilot since the fiscal year began Oct. 1, relying on a series of short-term measures that have kept the government running at last year’s funding levels. The tangle of other issues and the looming deadline makes yet another stopgap bill almost inevitable.
A key test will be whether Democrats and Republicans can agree to add other items to the new stopgap, including a two-year agreement to raise budget caps, changes to immigration laws, funding for natural disasters, and health-care law revisions. Unlike the tax cuts enacted by the GOP in December, Republicans will need votes from Democrats, and significant differences remain in each area, particularly immigration.

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01/05/18

Like the retail version of the movie Groundhog Day, Sears Holdings is starting out 2018 the same way it started out 2017. Four days into the new year, Sears just announced the closing of 103 stores. Last year on this date it announced 150 store closings. 

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01/04/18

“It is important that we achieve a two-year agreement that funds our troops and provides for our national security and other critical functions of the federal government,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement issued jointly with the White House. “It also remains important that members of Congress do not hold funding for our troops hostage for immigration policy.”

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01/03/18

It’s not just that almost nobody is driving electric vehicles right now. Only 1 percent of the global market has gone electric, and the number is even smaller in the U.S.
U.S. drivers now lease almost 80 percent of battery electric vehicles and 55 percent of plug-in hybrids, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The lease rate for the country’s entire fleet hovers around 30 percent. (There’s one blank spot in the data: Tesla does not divulge how many of its vehicles are leased, and since it sells its cars directly rather than through dealerships, the company doesn’t have to.)

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